Those who have been worried about the state of men’s tennis when the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are retired have nothing to worry about.
The next generation of men’s tennis is here, and fans will get a chance to see what one of the next great rivalries could look like when Frances Tiafoe, the 24-year-old American ranked No. 26, faces Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spaniard ranked No. 4, in the semifinals of the U.S. Open.
The two will play in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern time in what is expected to be a thrilling and intense match.
Here’s what you need to know before their semifinal match on Friday:
How did Frances Tiafoe and Carlos Alcaraz advance?
Through five singles matches, Tiafoe has dropped only one set, which came in the fourth round against Nadal. Tiafoe defeated Marcos Giron of the United States in the first round, then Jason Kubler of Australia, Diego Schwartzman, an Argentine seeded 14th, Nadal and Andrey Rublev, a Russian seeded ninth, in the quarterfinal.
Alcaraz arrives at the semifinals after back-to-back marathon five-set matches: He beat Jannik Sinner of Italy in a 5-hour, 15-minute quarterfinal match that ended at nearly 3 a.m. Thursday, and Marin Cilic of Croatia in the fourth round in a match that lasted nearly four hours.
Alcaraz defeated Sebastian Baez of Argentina in the first round, Federico Coria of Argentina in the second and Jenson Brooksby of the United States in the third.
Want to see the match in the stadium?
Get ready to pay up. As of Thursday evening, tickets in the upper levels of Ashe Stadium were available from resellers on Ticketmaster for about $300. Tickets in the middle levels of the stadium were going for anywhere from about $1,000 to nearly $3,000.
The best seats in the house? Those are nearly $7,000.
Catching the match at home?
Tune into ESPN on Friday. (If you’re in Canada, tune into TSN.)
If that’s not enough for you, consider preparing yourself a Honey Deuce, the official cocktail of the U.S. Open. (Find the recipe here.)
What can we expect?
This match will be intense. Tiafoe and Alcaraz both play fierce tennis, and they’re quick up and down the court.
Leading up to the U.S. Open, Tiafoe trained on his home court at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md. Komi Oliver Akli, a senior director of player development at the center, said that Tiafoe spent much of his sessions focusing on his fitness. Before Tiafoe beat Nadal in the fourth round, Akli told him to be physical in the match.
“Make the match longer; make every point longer,” Akli said he told Tiafoe.
Tiafoe won their only previous matchup last year in Barcelona on clay. According to Tipico Sportsbook, Alcaraz is the favorite to win Friday’s match, with -200 odds against +150 for the underdog Tiafoe.